What is 3D Printing
If you are like me, you may have never heard of 3D printing or you’ve heard the term, but are unsure what it means. Simply put 3d printing is the creation of 3 dimensional objects thru the use of a special form of printer. The process starts with the creation of a CAD (computer aided design) file that is made using 3d modeling software. The printer uses this file to produce the object by placing layer after layer until the entire object is created. Think of it like layers of a cake, stacked on top of each other.
Some imagine a world where there are no factories and people just print the items they need. Such a scenario is still off in the future. The most common current use for 3d printing is the creation of a prototype, which can be tested and tweaked before being mass produced. Also current technology is useful in printing small parts and other common items like handles. If it is bigger than a bread basket, it will take several hours to produce.
Future applications are far ranging including the printing of human tissue and body parts. The printer would be loaded with bio-material and would produce the object by placing the material, layer upon layer on the printer bed until the desired part was produced. There is also a darker side to 3d printing, some are trying to use the technology to print guns or other weapons. In Sydney, Australia, thieves used 3d printed ATM skimmers to milk $100,000 from ATM users. (An ATM skimmer is a device which is attached to an ATM in order to gather credit card and banking account information.)
3D printing is also growing amongst hobbyists. A variety of home 3D printers are now available in the price range of $1500 and up. There are also design files which can be downloaded to use, so it is unnecessary to know complicated CAD software programs in order to use your printer. One popular home printer is the Cube.
3d printing is still in its infancy, but as the technology progresses, it is sure to have a huge impact on our world. Compare the internet now to where it was back in the 80s when there were virtually no high speed connections, and things like music and video sharing were still far off, and you have some idea where 3D printing will be in 20 or 30 years.
Here is a video which shows 3D bio printing and what the future may hold.